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Initiatives help spur VUMC nursing’s progress: Dubree 

May. 21, 2015, 9:35 AM

Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., delivered last week’s State of Nursing Address. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., delivered the 2015 State of Nursing Address to a full audience in Light Hall on May 14 as a part of Nurses Week, an annual occasion to celebrate nurses. It was a time to assess where Vanderbilt Nursing is today, and where it’s going.

The theme of the address was one of investment — in recruiting more nurses, retaining them through a clinical staff leadership model, saving time through work redesign and updating clinical systems to the latest technology.

Dubree acknowledged that the year had been challenging from a staffing perspective and detailed efforts to recruit more nurses in a competitive local environment. Vanderbilt adjusted nursing compensation and improved role clarity for recruiters, allowing them to make job offers directly to applicants.

“We did a lot of work trying to expedite the process for acquiring talent and making sure that staff got to the worksite as quickly as possible,” she said.

In addition, leaders expanded the size of the Nurse Residency program, and allowed graduate LPNs to begin to work for Vanderbilt right out of college. Vanderbilt has typically required LPNs to have one year of nursing experience elsewhere.

Nursing began a branding campaign, “Achieve the Remarkable,” with a dedicated recruiting hotline and the ability to chat online with a recruiter.

Vanderbilt continued implementation of the Clinical Staff Leadership (CSL) model, which allows nursing leaders to work alongside staff nurses, improving staff development and shared governance. There are now more than 200 CSLs. Dubree said the model aims to help retain nurses and create a positive work enviroment.

“Our ability to attract talented staff and to keep them is the hallmark of what makes us strong,” she said.

Implementing better technology to improve efficiency was also a focus of the last year. Redundant questions for documentation are being eliminated to reduce staff time. Call systems are transitioning from pagers to smartphones.

The goal is for “individuals to have the right equipment, at the right time, every time,” she said.

Amid a busy year, Vanderbilt is also gearing up for the third journey toward achieving Magnet re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Vanderbilt submitted the application in April and will submit the document for the third designation in April 2016 in anticipation of a site visit.

In closing, Dubree celebrated the ways nurses were positively affecting health at VUMC and beyond.
“Our nurses are helping to advance health in our community,” she said. “They do that every day at the hospitals that are next door to us, in the counties that surround us and beyond. We have much to be proud of, and I am proud to be part of this group and honored to lead you.”

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